I’ve found that the most durable & comfortable shoes have/are:
• Leather (upper, lining, & sometimes soles)
A leather exterior is going to be easier (in comparison to other materials like suede/fabric) to keep clean, therefore extending the life of the shoe. Most shoes with leather linings feel nice against the skin & also offer a bit of “breathability”. Leather soles are a nice touch, although, I personally prefer rubber for better endurance & traction. I’ve noticed that leather soles get “scruffed down” with constant wear, and most often calls for replacement at a cobbler.
When looking for quality, comfy shoes, I try to avoid “Man-made/Synthetic Materials”. Leather is king; vero, nappa, & nubuck are especially nice!
How much flexibility does the shoe have between the toe box & the remainder of the shoe?
If a shoe doesn’t “flex” easily back & forth in my hands, I know it won’t on my foot; and the resulting walk will be stiff & uncomfortable. So…when purchasing new shoes, before even trying them on, I’ll take one (holding it; 1 hand around the front edge & the other just behind the toe box) and gently bend it back & forth. If it doesn’t budge, it usually goes back on the shelf or into the shipping box.
Padded, plush & form-fitted.
These shoes are stamped with “Made in Brazil”, “Made in Spain”, Made in Portugal”, “Made in Italy”…you get the idea. When I find a comfy/quality shoe that says “Made in China”, I’ll do a blog post. I’m sure they exist.
• A Higher Price Tag
Like with everything, we will pay a little bit more for quality.
After wearing terrible/cheap/”throw-away” shoes for years (& beginning to develop foot pains as a result), I began to see shoes as investments. Not having to sacrifice comfort to “break in” new shoes is worth paying the extra moolah in my book. That doesn’t mean, bargains & steals aren’t out there, because they are! We just have to keep our eyes peeled, because they sell out at the speed of a mouse click.
What makes a comfortable & long-lasting shoe for you?